My rating: 4 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sophie Taylor’s Manhattan restaurant, In Fashion, has failed, so she returns to Gracious Grove in upstate NY where her grandmother runs Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House to get a little respite and rethink her future goals. Sophie’s nana is getting up in age and can use her help running the much beloved teahouse. Sophie’s glad to be of help even as one of the upcoming venues includes a wedding shower tea for her longtime friend Cissy Peterson. The problem is Cissy’s own grandmother, Thelma Mae Earnshaw, owns a competing tearoom nearby, La Belle Époque, and Thelma Mae, former friend of Rose Freemont, has been holding a grudge against her for over 60 years for supposedly stealing Thelma Mae’s beau when they were just teenagers. How can Cissy do that to her own grandmother? Well, only the best for Cissy Peterson, and that means Auntie Rose’s wins out over the vastly inferior La Belle Époque. Even so, to appease Thelma Mae and assuage her own guilty conscience, Cissy commissions her grandmother to host an engagement tea for her at La Belle Époque. Who knew that Vivienne Whittaker, Cissy’s soon to be mother-in-law, would meet her demise at the engagement tea to the horror of everyone present. Who could possibly want Vivienne Whitakker dead? Perhaps a lot of people? Or was the intended victim someone other than Vivienne and did she just happen to get in the way?
I enjoyed this cozy….particularly the setting and cast of characters which ranged from crooked politicians to sweet old grandmothers to embittered relatives to jilted lovers. I had a fun time watching Sophie as amateur sleuth snooping around and asking markedly pointed questions to find out once and for all who killed Vivienne Whittaker. This was a first in the series, and although I found that in order to keep the list of characters straight in my head I had to read this one at a slightly slower pace, that was just fine since it was worth the extra time spent on it. I found that I really liked Thelma Mae Earnshaw’s character, Cissy’s crotchety old grandmother who I found hilarious. One of my favorite lines from her when being questioned by the detective regarding the murder went like this….
DETECTIVE: “Mrs. Earnshaw, can you tell me in your own words what happened?”
THELMA MAE: “Well, now, who else’s’ words would I use? Stupidest thing I ever heard.”
LOL!! I thought that was too funny and it gave me a glimpse as to what I could expect from the likes of Thelma Mae Earnshaw.
In conclusion, I thought this cozy could be classified along with the best of them and I recommend it to those who love to savor a good cozy mystery.